Tulsa Good Samaritan Helps Woman Chase Suspected Car Thief
TULSA, Oklahoma - A suspected car thief is in jail after a Good Samaritan chases him down and gets police to the scene.
It ended in a Midtown Taco Bueno drive-thru lane, but started at a tire shop near Pine and Yale.
Maria Melendez was dropping off her car for some work when a man came up and said he would drive it in.
She thought the man worked at the shop, but instead, he took off with her Cadillac Escalade.
Her screaming got the attention of a Good Samaritan -- Wayne Bridgeman -- who took on the chase.
"She jumped in the truck, and I drove like a madman until I caught up with them about Pine and Harvard,” Bridgeman said.
With Bridgeman at the wheel and Melendez spotting the car in traffic, they chased it, but then lost sight of it.
"I'm so lucky to find [Bridgeman] when this stupid guy steals my car, that's crazy,” she said.
After a few minutes, they found it again in a Taco Bueno drive thru at 21st and Sheridan.
Police blocked in the car and pulled everyone out -- four people and a dog.
Though everyone was in handcuffs for a while, police determined the driver was alone when the SUV was stolen.
They believe 38-year-old Gary Wayne Jones stopped by and picked up the family for lunch just after stealing the car.
"That's what he told us,” TPD Sgt. Steve Middleton said. “He said they were hungry so they were going to go to Taco Bueno. Why they didn't go to a closer one, we don't know, but that's how we ended up here."
Police recovered $200 in cash from the stolen car and gave it back to the victim.
Jones got a long goodbye kiss from his wife -- it would have been longer except police pulled them apart -- and he went to jail.
Police said Jones had four misdemeanor warrants, and now there's a new case against him.
"Now they get to go to jail, that's good for them isn't it?” Bridgeman said. “They'll get to spend Christmas in jail because they're not that smart."